Woman who lost baby after giving birth in jail sues MDC staff

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former inmate gave birth to her baby in jail, but the baby didn’t survive. Now the woman is suing, claiming staff at MDC ignored her pleas for help.

In October 2016, Shawna Tanner admitted to a judge that she failed a drug test while on probation. That violation is, essentially, what sent Tanner back to jail. At the time, she was eight months pregnant.

During the 16-days she spent behind bars, Tanner went into labor, but the baby didn’t make it.

Now she’s suing for the way she said staff at MDC handled the situation. In the lawsuit filed Friday in federal court, Tanner claims that a day before she went into labor, staff at MDC ignored her calls for help when she said she was bleeding and cramping.

The next day, Tanner said she continued to report abdominal pain to corrections officers. According ot the lawsuit, instead of calling an ambulance to take her to the hospital, Tanner said medical staff accused her of wanting drugs and locked her in a cell in the infirmary.

When paramedics arrived mid-day, Tanner claims it was too late and she went into labor in the infirmary. She said paramedics were forced to deliver the baby because the doctor on staff “refused” to help.

Once the baby was out, paramedics discovered he was not breathing.

Tanner is suing the county and the jail staff, including nurses and the doctor at MDC. The lawsuit did not clarify why the doctor would not help Tanner during delivery.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the county for comment and to see if any policies have changed since the incident, but did not hear back.

Back in October, MDC told KRQE News 13 it was investigating the baby’s death but wouldn’t provide more information, claiming medical privacy laws.

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